All hail the taboo-breaking Olympic swimmer unafraid to mention her period

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All hail the taboo-breaking Olympic swimmer unafraid to mention her period

No woman should be

On Friday, a female Olympic swimmer smashed a universal taboo by mentioning she was on her period in a post-race interview.

Fu Yuanhui, 20, represented China in the Olympics and took home a bronze medal in the 100 meter backstroke. Her name is now arguably more recognizable than the names of some gold medalists – not just for her performance in the pool.

After competing in the 4×100 meter medley relay and finishing in a disappointing fourth place, Fu told reporters that she was weak and tired during the race because she had gotten her period the previous day. “But this isn’t an excuse for not swimming well,” she clarified.

This topic is considered taboo in the world of sports, and especially in China. The country doesn’t air commercials for feminine sanitary products on primetime television because they are considered “inappropriate.” Given the stigma surrounding menstruation and feminine hygiene products in China, the fact that a Chinese athlete has spoken about this topic is especially remarkable.

The online community has praised her for starting an important conversation and bringing light to an annoying reality for women in sports.

Not many women have been brave enough to speak about periods. And those who have spoken out are usually shamed for doing so.

Last year, as part of a school project, Rupi Kaur posted a photo showing a small amount of blood on her pants. Instagram removed the photo.

In 2015, another female athlete, tennis player Heather Watson, cited “girl things” as a reason for her disappointing performance at the Australian Open.

Women shouldn’t feel ashamed to share stories about bleeding through their pants in public and running the mile with a pad.

It’s important for girls to realize that, while periods can be inconvenient, they are a normal part of life. Even Olympians have to deal with them. Why should discussion of the topic be considered anything but normal? Fu Yuanhui shared her comments nonchalantly and set the stage for all women to do the same.

As we continue to work toward more positive perceptions of women in sports, we should be able to include this topic in the conversation.

@MillionDollaJB

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